Cuban hopes Collins opens door for others

Mark Cuban, who has often been a vocal supporter of gay rights issues, considers NBA center Jason Collins' coming out of the closet a breakthrough moment in sports.

“Good for Jason. I hope this opens the door for other players to be honest about who they are,” Cuban wrote in an email reply to ESPNDallas.com.

Cuban told TMZ earlier this month that he would be “honored” to have on his team the first NBA player who came out publicly.

“I think things have changed, significantly, in that the players would accept him,” Cuban told TMZ. “All professional sports have had their homophobic missteps along the way; it's a new era, a new generation and the player would be accepted. I think we are starting, at least on the edges, to break down those barriers. This shouldn't be a big deal.”

The 34-year-old Collins is entering free agency. Known for being a great locker room presence and physical defender, Collins averaged 1.1 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.2 fouls in 38 games for the Celtics and Wizards this season.

UPDATE: Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Monday night that he has known Jason and twin brother Jaron Collins since he worked with them at a camp more than a decade ago, calling them "pure class on and off the court."

"I applaud Jason's announcement and view it as a further demonstration of his strength and character," Carlisle said via text message.